Are We Screwing Over Future Generations By Taking All Of The Best Domain Names And Gamertags?

There is a serious epidemic going on that all of us are ignoring, and it's been bothering me for quite some time. I don't care about mercury in the water, toilet snakes, or swallowing my own tongue anymore. This is a far worse threat to society.

Now, I realise it's risky this early in the game to start quoting Radiohead songs, but I'm concerned that we are leaving future generations high and dry, depriving them of the ability to reserve their desired usernames, domain names and gamertags because we are snatching them up for ourselves without giving even a single, solitary crap.

You may be laughing this off. Taking it lightly. Calling me a "warmonger" or "Doomsday Donna." Well, my name isn't Donna, and here is where you're missing the point:

Suppose you really like pens. You love them. Inky, pointy, blue, black, ballpoint — you can't get enough. Let's suppose you love them so much that you want to be a professional online pen entrepreneur and create a business called "Pen Island." Naturally, you want to purchase the coinciding domain name, but too bad for you because I already reserved one time when I was drinking, because I thought it would be hilarious.

That doesn't seem like a huge deal, does it? Wrong. Because guess what? Maybe in the future, Penis Land is going to be a very real, serious devastated area, like New Orleans after Katrina. And there won't be a website to accept your donations because, surprise, I forgot the login password. Now I'm in a three-hour phone conversation with Go Daddy and, since I'm drinking again to numb myself of the pain I'm feeling from the Penis Land disaster, all I can think to yell at the customer service representative is that Danica Patrick has lost 10 out of her last 10 races.

This is a serious problem. This is our Y2K. (But like, for real this time.)

Personally, I blame AOL. When AOL Instant Messenger hit the scene in 1997, nicknamed "A.I.M." by some and "aim" by morons, reserving domain names became the Internet equivalent of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. (That, of course, is an assumption. I didn't read the entire Wikipedia entry on this land run, but I did see Far And Away with Tom Cruise.) Suddenly, every young person in America started grabbing screennames in a maniacal frenzy:

LisaFoiles. Nope. Boring.

HummerLuvr86. Why am I getting all these weird Ims?

Xx_ColdplayRockZ_xX. BOOM. Perfect.

I took three screennames off the market in under 20 minutes, and that was just finding my screenname for that day. I'd do the same thing again the following day. In my lifetime, I've probably taken — nay, stolen — over 200 A.I.M. screennames, without ever taking into consideration that my daughter or my daughter's daughter might one day be a Hummer Lover (86).

My only hope is that my daughter will never need to reserve HummerLuvr86 on AOL Instant Messenger, because the sheer fact that it still has AOL in its name makes it an inferior messaging service that frankly should have died off years ago. But that's really here nor there.

This is especially detrimental to up and coming bands. In this fast, cutthroat cyber cesspool of smut and elitism we wade through every day, only bands with great names survive, but more specifically, only bands with great names AND corresponding websites and Twitter accounts survive. It's no longer about choosing a great band name. Nay, it's about choosing a band name that still has a domain name available. That's why your new metal band isn't called something awesome like Save The Empire, but rather something retarded like The Flying Cockwrenches.

Same goes for gamertags. We never had to reserve a unique nickname for our NESs, 64s, or Genesises… Genesi. Now, our entire online console gaming lifestyle depends on our gamertag. Do you really think those are all going to be scrapped anytime soon to make way for a new service? Unlikely. It's looking as though we'll be stuck with our Xbox and PSN names for a freakishly long time; let's hope we picked a good one and too bad for those who didn't. Have fun switching from "FapSausage" to "NinerzFan" once you get married and kissing that 50k gamerscore goodbye — that is, if you don't want to fork over the 800 Microsoft points to change it. ("Those greedy bastards won't get my money!")

I realise this is all pretty scary, but brace yourself for the worst part: Gmail.

Guys, I'm pretty sure Google isn't going under any time soon like we've all been expecting. In fact, they seem to have gotten pretty huge — huge to the point that I assume everyone's email address is "their full name" "at" "," and if it isn't, I'm utterly dumbfounded as to what could possibly be wrong with them. Really? Your email address is [email protected] instead of [email protected]? THAT's the email address you feel comfortable reading off to your car insurance representative over the phone? Because, surprise, your rates just went up on your hot pink Camry.

If Gmail is now the standard and, hypothetically, Google continues to rule the world for all eternity, aren't we going to run out of usernames? Our poor future generations will never know the luxury of simply having their name as their email handle, without irritating numbers at the end or having to add in their middle name for an extra long email address that no one wants to type. And when no one wants to type your email address, no one is going to email you. Not even spammers. They don't have time for that many letters.

Our current generation is sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast of available usernames, and we're selfishly inhaling them until we're bloated, leaving nothing for our children except gelatinized cranberry sauce in the shape of a can. Because seriously, who eats that?

Honestly. I don't know how many more metaphors you need from me.

Look, I've been through a lot of crap in life and several near death experiences, two of which involved illegal fireworks, and I still say there is nothing more infuriating than coming up with the greatest username/Twitter handle/gamertag/domain name of all time only to see that it's already taken and the owner isn't even using it.

This happened to me for the first time seven years ago, and that damned URL is still a blank page filled with 50 animated "under construction" GIFs. Sure, I could've gone with .org or .biz, but come on, no one is taking those seriously.

That is what's in store for our children. That is what we're leaving for them. In two hundred years, some way hotter, cooler, and more famous Lisa Foiles is really going to want, but that bitch isn't going to get it because the login information will be stored deep within my dead brain. She'll even be unable to use futuristic technology to tap into my brain to retrieve this information because I assume I'll have made my living relatives sign some sort of privacy document preventing that shit.

We are pirates, all of us — we steal as many usernames across the net as we can and say "tough marbles" to anyone else who wants them or more rightly deserves them. Will you be the one to step up and stop reserving all the good usernames? Or, after reading this article, will you embark on a tireless mission to scoop up even more of them as a giant middle finger to generations to come? This is the paradox I leave you with, friends.

And speaking of great band names, if any of you have upcoming weddings, funerals, or bar mitzvahs, please consider booking my 90's alternative rock band, The Ally McBeal Surprise. You'll find us at the corresponding website URL.

Kotaku Presents' debut season features Lisa Foiles, who is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as an actress/web host in Hollywood and is continuing to dabble in video game voiceovers. For more info, visit Lisa's official website She's also on Twitter.


    Lost interest at penis land

      Speak for yourself

        I, too, and interested in this magical land.

          be careful of Therapists of Pen Island though

            I tip my hat to you. Kudos.

            This made it all worthwhile.

      I got bored at penis land too. This article is lame.

        How on earth could you get bored at Penis Land?

    My username is fairly unique but I've come across a few places where it has alrady been used - and if it's happening to me then I'm sure it's a million times worse for everyone else.

    Meh. I'll sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but "crude" rambling asides != comedy gold.

    Shame, could have been a funny article too.

    Instead, all I'm hearing in my mind is a Kathy Griffin voice, with less comedic value.

      You are dead right: her entire body of work is painfully unfunny in a way that only Kathy Griffin seems able to top. I have a bad habit of not actually looking at the author of each article, but I can always spot Lisa about half way through when I realise recognise her brand of unfunny crap.

    Just registered my gmail account under my actual name - after a couple of people have looked at me sideways and gone, "You still use Hotmail?" About time I got with the times.
    Obviously, my real name, and all possible variations on it, have been stolen already, so I've settled for a number at the end. Irritating.

    Domain names expire. If you die or lose the password or something eventually your registration will disappear and it'll become free again. I think MS and Sony will do the same for gamertags / PSN names etc.

    Also on the domain names thing, this is why they're adding a whole raft of new TLDs to add to the existing .com/.net/.org etc.

    Gamer tags arent like water where we have to preserve for future generations. You grab those things the instant theyre available!
    F*** the game companies and such for only allowing one instance of each name! Imagine if this was haw to real world was!?

    Painfully unfunny. The poster that said Kathy griffin was spot on.

    I actually managed to get my name @ gmail dot com, was very surprised.

      I have a very common name. Even though I registered the account in 2005, I still had to add "qld" to the end of it.

    I've had the same single email address for many years now, which corresponds with gamertags and such. Not all of us are trying to take as many online names/addresses as possible.

    I'm still used to using my old screen handle. Hasn't changed in 10 years.

    Have had this username for almost 20 years now... "Light" has been popular for a very long time :)

    I have my name and common internet username at, both used for different purposes. I also have a long and annoying hotmail account which I needed in order to have an Xbox Live Account way back in the before times :P

    But I don't think this is a real concern. Stuff expires. We'll get new domains. Eventually web addresses will become obsolete anyway. We'll have generic 22nd century "SEARCH" and we'll be jacked into the Matrixwebs via cerebral wifi to download mindapps that stream data to our ocular implants, (assuming eyeballs aren't just plain obsolete by then), all driven by the bioelectric charge present in our organic forms. Red Bull will change their slogan from "gives you wings" to "necessary for your survival", because if you try and check LolTronCats on whatever Tumblr has become in 90 years time before you're fully awake, the strain of loading it will cause your brain to permanently lock up.

    nobody would want my username ... and i have my real name I aint greedy.

    F*** future generations, what have they ever done for us?

    But if we don't pillage them, then our children will and who will stop them?

    I personally have three online handles, along with my "proper" identity for more professional engagements.
    These three handles have arisen from one originally, (which admittedly was a reboot once I realised Pumkins_are_orange was stupid), which eventually was taken by someone else, somewhere in the ether.
    I use my handles as the potential goldmine they are. To stake my claim, and claim my steak. To make my mark on the intangible nothingness that is the WWW, and to provide a semblance of identity, however false it may be.
    As for the future generations, why must our digital namesakes not follow in the footsteps of their analogous forefathers? Consider them as potential heirlooms. Pass them on, preventing our brethren from falling to the inevitable cesspool of C0Dg0d2023 and M1ffyLuvrXXXx.
    Capitalism for the digital age.
    A moniker for those that are borne unto it.

    I don't know if any of you know, but the IS a Pen Island(.net). Link it to your friends and family, it's a very innocent site.

    Anyway, I've considered this issue previously. One short hand solution would be to make a new series of emails. Like, google could start doing or whatever.
    This doesn't solve the gamertag issue though, which is probably a problem. Let the future deal with it.

    This article is a bit ridiculous, even for a humour story.

    We'd more have to worry about what will happen to the next person to have our usernames, anyway.
    I once had an email address at hotmail that had obviously been used before but had been let lapse for whatever reason. I kept getting subscribed porn emails and emails about the guy's poetry submissions.

    ms and sony should do what steam does, account name, and screen name that is changeable

    I once had [first name].[last name} A friend created it on my behalf, in order to create a facebook account on my behalf. He also added some crap about how gmail is cool and hotmail sucks or whatever.

    I would've told him to shove it, but instead I gave it two weeks (to be polite) before deleting them both. Apparently it's a permanent thing for gmail and I'll never be able to get that ever again? Oh well.

    I haven't had to get a gamertag yet because my 360 isn't hooked up online. I'm fairly confident my usual username would be available if I did, it's fairly unique. But the 360'll probably be dead by that point, so there won't even be any need to get one.

    ...Where am I going/saying with this again? Also plus one for the Kathy Griffin stuff.

    Won't be a problem as within 10 years we will legally have to use our true identity on the internet. Allthough we will still be able to have our own tags on most sites I'm sure.

    "In two hundred years, some way hotter, cooler, and more famous Lisa Foiles is really going to want, but that bitch isn’t going to get it because the login information will be stored deep within my dead brain."

    You are aware that domain registrations only last for up to 5 years and you have to renew them otherwise they are open domain? meaning unless you renew the registration someone else could steal your "penisland". Realistically a similar concept should apply to Gamertags. If user hasnt logged in for 3 months, they are required to enter a new gamertag, and if its been taken, tough luck.

    I used to run a social networking site with a similar concept. If you didnt log in once every 3 months, you were send an automatic email giving you 7 days to log in to keep your username, otherwise you would have to enter a new username on your next login. Users could be identified using unique hash tags so you new immediately if one of your friends tags had been taken by someone else.

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